The representative of Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has said his political relationship with Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, began at the Rivers State House of Assembly where they met as contemporaries several years ago.
Abe, in a statement he personally signed and made available to the media, insisted that he does not owe Amaechi the kind of unquestioning obedience that the minister claims he owes to Dr. Peter Odili, because he has never been a personal staff of the minister neither did he live in his boys quarters.
He said: “Our political partnership started at the Rivers State House of Assembly to which I sponsored myself but he was sponsored by Dr. Peter Odili. So I do not owe him the kind of loyalty that he owes Dr. Odili.
“How well he has discharged that loyalty in the face of power is between him, Dr. Odili and God.”
Abe further said Amaechi has been calling him all manner of unprintable names in the last couple of years for reasons best known to him.
The statement said: “My attention has been drawn to an interview granted by the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. In the said interview, the minister said among other issues raised therein described me as a ‘betrayer and an ingrate’.
“Nigerians are aware that Mr. Amaechi has been calling me names for the past two years and in keeping with my personal values and upbringing, I have refrained from joining issues with him in the public domain.
“However, it has become imperative that I set the records straight on the issues raised by the minister so that Nigerians will know the truth.
“The Minister said the justice of Rivers State demands a Riverine Governorship.
“Let me again place on record that it was the same Amaechi who called the entire leadership of the Ogoni Nation to several meetings to promise the Ogoni people the same Governorship for the same reason.
“All spectrum of the Ogoni including the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, MOSOP, KAGOTE, the Church Leaders Council, the Academia are all aware of the Minister’s commitment.”
Abe said Amaechi had told the Ogoni people on several occasions that they were the poorest and most marginalized group in Rivers State and wondered how the same person could turn around on what justice in Rivers State demands and move to hold the same kind of meeting and make the same promise to the Riverine people.
On issues of popularity as raised by the Minister, the Senator stated that he decided to adopt the process the minister followed in the case of Rotimi Amaechi Vs. INEC, because in a situation where the rich and powerful, those who have absolute control of the party machinery are after you, “it is only the courts that can help you”.
Abe denied falling ill when Amaechi announced Dakuku Peterside as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the build-up to the 2015 general elections but rather stated that it was the minister who suffered shock when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was announced as Vice Presidential candidate of the party in 2014.
He said: “He (Amaechi) will remember that when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was announced as Vice Presidential candidate of the APC, he went into shock and a Doctor had to be brought in to treat him. He was placed on a drip all night to stabilise him. That was why he assumed that I would have also required medication. We all react differently to shock.”
Abe who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency, insisted that he never went sobbing before the Minister for the job of the Niger Delta Development Commission and admonished the former governor not to be so childish in his determination to stop him from running for governor of Rivers State.
He said: “Let me repeat once again that I was elected Minority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly by members of the minority caucus of the house. I was appointed Commissioner of Information by Dr. Peter Odili. Dr. Odili himself called me after my appointment and told me in the presence of two witnesses (then deputy Governor and SSG) that my appointment was one he made by himself out of conviction that I would do well and he was not influenced by anyone in giving me that appointment.
“I am glad Dr. Peter Odili is alive and he is in a better position than myself to discuss Mr. Amaechi’s loyalty.
“Yes, the Minister as Governor appointed me as SSG and supported me to go to the Senate. I thank him for the privilege, but I did not lobby for the job. I served with total commitment and discharged my responsibilities faithfully and to the best of my ability.
“Most importantly, none of this was done on the precondition that I would not attempt to be governor.
“I really must appeal to the Minister to take it easy. All is too transient in life to harbour so much pettiness and hatred.
“Nigeria is a democracy and therefore, I have a constitutional right to aspire to a position for which to the best of my knowledge he (Amaechi) is not in contention.
“The APC is not a personal estate of anyone, it is a political party and I am playing by the rules. He should try to understand the rules so we can play together.”